How do I pick grooming brushes for my horse?
I joke a lot about using elbow grease to groom your horse, and while this is true, you must have the best brushes and tools to make this happen. There are tons of choices out there! Having some idea of what you need/want when you go to the store will help you. Or, just buy everything. This is a totally legit way of doing things, especially at tack stores. Pick your bristles wisely! Some factors to think about:
- Bristle length. Longer bristles are great for flicking away dirt that you have brought up with your curry comb. Shorter bristles are great for smoothing out the coat after you have curried, flicked away the dirt and hair, and just need to add more polish.
- Bristle thickness. Generally speaking, the thicker the bristle, the larger the chunk of whatever will be removed. The thinner bristles tend to only get rid of the tiny specs. You may need more than one brush for your grooming kit. A thick bristled brush for mud and clumps, a thin bristled brush for the fine dust and hair to be flicked away.
- Natural vs. Synthetic. What’s the job of the brush? I love love love natural bristle brushes for my horse’s coats. They are soft, dense, and effective. So dense in fact, that you may need to brush your horse for a few strokes, then brush a metal curry comb to release what you just picked up.
- Synthetic bristle brushes are typically made of plastic and tend to be a bit harder. I love love love the super stiff styles, these are great for cleaning saddle pads, horse boots, and the dirt away from the bottom of your pants. I’m not always a fan of these on horses, although some horses want all of the scratching all of the time.
Love these stiff synthetic brushes for doing the tough jobs.
Some other things to keep in mind when you are picking out brushes at the store:
- What does your horse like? Stiff or soft? Some sensitive skinned horses really only like soft brushes, or they are just super ticklish and want a super hard brush. Go figure. More on grooming the sensitive horse here!
- Is it comfortable to hold? No brush is awesome enough if you can't even hold the darn thing. Make sure it won't catch air by flying out of your hands.
- Are the bristles dense enough for your liking? Some bristles are super wonderful, but there's only about 3 or them, and that's not helping anything.
These soft natural bristles are great at getting out the fine dust and dirt.
Maybe I would bring up budget as a factor, but if you slowly add to your collection you won’t be taking a huge hit in the pocketbook. Try and choose super high quality - these will last a lifetime if properly cared for and work much better than a cheaper version.
What's your favorite brush?